As an American ambassador is killed during an attack at a U.S. compound in Libya, a security team struggles to make sense out of chaos.
13 Hours is directed by Michael Bay and inspired by the true story of some soldiers who took a stand in Benghazi when they had no idea of what was going on and unclear orders. I really wasn't sure what to expect, especially from Michael Bay. It's his third time trying to reenact a true story, after Pearl Harbor and Pain & Gain. But now having seen the film, I can say that Michael bay has made his most mature movie since... ever.
The first hour is pretty rough as it is the same thing we always saw, setting up characters. It sets them in the most standard ways, so you never really grow to be attached, you respect them but there's no connection whatsoever. John Krasinski is no longer that skinny nerd from The Office, he's in the military now. He does an incredible job in this movie. We should be seeing more of him than we currently are. Him and his team aren't simply badasses, they are badasses from Michael Bay's Alpha Male Signature Series Collection. Their gut instinct is always right and they don't need an Ivy League education to know what's what. It's in this regard that 13 Hours crosses the threshold between just being a Michael bay movie and being a Michael Bay movie that has something to say.
Unlike American Sniper, the film doesn't bring up and doesn't explore, the tension within many men between the lure of danger and excitement, and the longing for intimacy and home. For the very first time though, I think Bay actually found the right balance between fun entertainment for everyone and honoring a true story. Plus, the screenplay limits the audience infos and politic because the infos that the men involved in this situation got back then were also extremely limited. Still, sequences go from firefight to firefight and gradually gains a video game-like structure with a little too much shaky-cam again but nor throughout the whole movie. Directors can do that, but we're coming out of Abrams and Inàrritu so please... Finally, Bay's action is still confused, but he works best in chaos. At one point he even couldn't resist repeating a shot he introduced in Pearl Harbor, that shows a large mortar shell falling slowly and then exploding.
Overall, this film is the living proof that Michael Bay is able to listen to his fans and adapts. He deserves credits for mixing politics and pop filmmaking.